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Season’s Greetings

December 15, 2018

This year you can choose. It’s either the warm fire inside the kitchen with the blowing snow storm outside

KarenandDougsfire

OR

The sounds of the gently rolling surf surging up the beach with sunny blue skies, a bottle of tequila and a few tacos.

 

 

 

Which would you choose;

Times running out. Make your choice now.

 

Clock made of wood by Nick Hally of Maple Hollow Studios

I Feel Your Pain

November 23, 2018

-20C, snow up to 15cm, grey skies, icy roads – how does one survive this?

A Bite of the Apple – and a bit more

November 12, 2018
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I know it’s been a while since I’ve turned my thoughts to updating this blog. A lot of water has gone under the bridge both literally and figuratively.

In summer we never made if further north on the east coast of the US than Long Island Sound; specifically, Port Washington which became our summer home for the months of part of July, August and the beginning of September. We spent most of our time tied to a mooring ball in Port Washington. Port Washington is one of the most yacht friendly harbours in the whole of Long Island Sound. It’s protected, it’s safe, has easy access to shops and it is one of the terminuses of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The LIRR provides a 40 minute ride into Penn Station in the heart of New York.

We didn’t stay on the boat long as we had secured a 10 day house sit in Hudson Heights through Trusted Housesitters . Along with the house sit came two cats to tend to but apart from feeding and talking to them we were free to explore New York. It’s hard to comprehend the variety of things to do in New York as the summertime provides an incredible array of special events both free and paid

A few of the highlights of New York included seeing Vieux Farke Toure on the Blues BBQ (free),

seeing the Klimt painting of the Woman in Gold, spending the day in the Metropolitan Museum which had an amazing display on the arts of Oceania (as well as so much more), a night spent at Barbes listening to great music and scoring some tickets for the Lion King (for which we also got a personal tour of the backstage after the performance through an Annapolis connection). We could have easily spent another week in New York just wandering the streets

These were just a few of the highlights. There is so much more to see in New York and yet we only scratched the surface. I would love to go back but only after I find a little more gold on a beach.

Here are a few photo highlights you might enjoy. As I stated at the beginning we’re heading south to avoid the oncoming winter onslaught. The thought of winter makes my toes tingle but that’s not from excitement but rather from the thought of frostbite

Now it’s November, Sage is safely tucked away on dry land in Norfolk and we are temporarily in Ontario staving off the onslaught of winter which I am sure will hit us before we leave for points south in early December.

So, instead of long stories I’m posting a few photos and trying for a little sequence of our movements over the summer.

More on New York

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Central Park looking east

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Pacific section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art – spectacular exhibition of Oceania art

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Couldn’t resist a picture of the Chelsea Hotel – once the home of people like Patti Smith, Mapplethorpe etc and made famous in song by Leonard Cohen

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9/11 – a beautiful memorial to those taken down in the twin towers. Very moving

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From here it was dancing the latin beat on the street in the afternoon. Always things to do in NY

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Yes these carts are everywhere around the city but only tried once and never again!

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One of the access points to the Highline – a converted railway track to a walking path through Chelsea

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Always adding space to an already dense space

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And always murals

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Our last night spent in NY before heading south

Our only fall schedule was to be in Annapolis first forthe Ocean Cruising Club’s fall dinner followed by the Annapolis Boat show on the first weekend of October.

The picture below is of a style of boat which is making it’s debut on the retail market after creating a sensation in the last America’s Cup and on the international racing circuits in the last year. Foils seem to be the latest innovation in sailing and it will be interesting to see what mark they are going to make.

Below is a photo grid showing just a few of the people we got to meet over the summer. We had a great time and wish I only had more pictures of the many people we met but the camera hasn’t been pulled out that often!

New York, New York

August 11, 2018

No, I’m not about to start singing:

New York, New York
Start spreading the news
You’re leaving today (tell him friend)
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York
Your vagabond shoes, they are longing to stray
And steps around the heart of it, New York, New York

However, I will say we were energized having reached our most northely limit for this sailing season.

We scooted around Sandy Hook in the dark with a nice south west wind. Threading our way amongst all the major navigational buoys out in Lower Bay we headed up Ambrose Channel finally entering New York Harbour. Lower Bay isn’t exactly an exotic sounding or exciting name but that didn’t matter we had arrived.

Approaching the Verrazano Bridge in the ealy morning hours

The Verrazano Bridge was looking like gold as we crossed Lower Bay and into Ambrosse Channel, sailing past the lighted buoys that once marked the infamous Ambrose Lightship which is now located on the East River and used to attract tourists. From the bridge we could make out in the early dawn the Statue of Liberty beckoning us towards the anchorage.

We struggled against the outgoing current for what seemed hours eventually entering the channel behind the Statue of Liberty and an unprotected anchorage. I say unprotected as it’s not the weather that’s a problem but rather the day time boat traffic the plys New York’s waterways setting up a wave pattern that discourages one from staying for more than 24 hours.

There we were , staring at the ass end of the Statue of Liberty for 24 hours

All joking aside this was an amazing anchorage. Although we weren’t looking at the front of the Statue of Liberty we did have an incredible view of both the statue and the skyline of lower Manhatten. It was spectacular at night with the Statue lit up and the view of Manhatten in all its glory.

Manhatten skyline at sunset

The motion in the anchorage wasn’t cooperating making it very difficult to get a good later afternoon or evening picture of the skyline. We sat out on deck drinking champagne like everyone on luxury yachts does every night. We toasted our success in making it this far and felt pretty happy with ourselves.

Early the next morning just before sunrise I had to get up early to the ‘call-of-the-bladder’. Staggering outside without my glasses (or clothes) made the landscape seem like an impressionist’s painting – all a blur of bright lighted dots. As I peed (which is illegal) over the side I tried to focus on what was in front of me. I finally realized that what was not that far away was a cruise ship sailing close in to the Statue of Liberty. I then saw all these popping lights and realized that all these people were on deck, pleased to be entering New York harbour at dawn, taking flash photos of the Statue of Liberty. Little did they know until they got home to look at their pictures that there was strange man on a luxury yacht hanging something over the side! Well, sorry people but some things just happen by accident and are not planned to ruin holidays or pictures!

After that we thought it best we leave as fast as we could and scoot out of the anchorage and take advantage of the flood tide up the east river.

Heading out of the anchorage and over towards Lower Manhatten and the East River

Just to prove we saw the front of the Statue of Liberty

If you ever go to New York, and you don’t have a luxury yacht like ours, make sure you take a tour up the East River. It was spectacular. All New York in its glory to see with helicopters circling overhead bringing tourists and businessmen into town, bridges with screeching railway cars crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, tourist and commecial boats and ferries stirring up the water and best of all the skyscrapers reaching up into the sky in all their glittering windows and steel.

This is definitely not the idyllic scenes people usually associate with sailing complete with tropical sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and pina coladas. This is raw power – the centre of finances running amok, the energy of millions of people on the move, art pushing the limits and a position in the world second to none.

We went up the east river to escape the unaffordable marina rates of NewYork. On a nightly basis costs at a dock start at $3/foot and rising to above $4/foot. We were looking for an anchorage and had been told about Port Washington which is at the south end of Long Island Sound. It’s the last stop on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)

which would be great for us as it would be a way in which we could access central New York. Having caught the flood tide for the East River we idled at 1,000rpm and were still doing 7.5-8knots along the river as we passed the east shore of Manhattan. It was an exhilirating ride and later, as we head south, be another chance to see Manhattan from the water.

For the time being we are in Port Washington. We’ve already made one foray into the Big Apple and next week will be house sitting for someone in Manhattan for a week. This will give us lots of time to explore the city and have a long awaited hit of theatre, movies, music, food etc.

In the meantime we sit in Port Washington taking shelter from the heat (up to 36C), hide from the thunderstorms, huddle below to hide from extreme lightening and try to stay dry under the deluge of excessive rains.

To keep me from going crazy by the lightening I took to reading David Sedaris’ new book called Calypso and I leave you now with an except from the book which is a story about his sister who is taking medicatication which has the side effect of making her sleepwalk.

“One morning a few weeks after Thanksgiving, she walked into her kitchen in North Carolia and found on the countertop an open jam jar with crumbs in it. At first she thought they were from a cookie. Then she saw the overturned box and realized she had eaten something intended for her painted turtles. It was a nutrition bar, maybe four inches long and made of dead flies, pressed together the way Duraflame logs are. “Not only that,” she said “but when I was through, I ate all the petals off my poinsetta.” She shook her head. ” I noticed it on the counter next to the turtle food box, and it was just a naked stalk.”

Back to Sea

July 27, 2018

“Travelling is not just seeing the new; it’s also leaving behind. Not just opening doors; also closing them behind you, never to return. But the place you have left forever is always there for you to see whenever you shut your eyes.”

Jan Myrdal

Why is it we travel? Certainly it’s not because we crave creature comforts. There are certainly very few creature comforts spent in a 250 square foot space (that’s probably overstating the space we have onboard). The constant attention to keeping a boat in good enough shape to cross an ocean safetly wears one down but then I think it’s better than having to go out and cut the grass!

So, we’re headed out to sea having gone up the Chesapeake and then down the Delaware River to Cape May.

Cape May viewed from the Delaware River

Above is Cape May as we approach from the west and see the Atlantic once again. We’ve motored a lot in the east coast and this was no exeception. We motorsailed down the Delaware from the Chesapeake- Delaware Canal, a 45 mile jaunt with currents to fight all the way, or, if you’re lucky, you get to use the currents in your favour. For us we had a little of both; the current against us and the current behind us.

With fading light and fading winds we pulled into Cape May and anchored….

Rounding Cape May

Trying to re-power Sage

July 21, 2018

Trying to figure out how to repower Sage and thought that this would be a great array on Sage’s stern.

The answer to no wind on the Chesapeake!

Chesapeake White Caps

July 16, 2018

I think the only white caps we’ve seen on the Chesapeake are those created by powerboats, water skiers, sea dos or kids rollicking in the water. There hasn’t been enough wind here to cause much wave action.

When there is some wind, the waves set up by the hundreds of thousands of motorboats cause the wind to spill out of the sails and the wake throws us 20 degrees off course and limits forward progress. Then one starts to sail again but within minutes another powerboat roars by. The other day we anchored in Annapolis for 2 nights and the water was so disturbed from the movement of powerboats that we had to stay ashore during the day returning in the evening when the motion was livable.

I can’t recommend the Chesapeake as a long distance sailor’s destination. The water is very silty, the anchorages close to towns have very little in the way of services with shopping centres located miles from town. The water is usually very shallow and the towns are located up long inlets. The one last item to mention is the abysmal public transportation – here’s a story (link) to shake your head at re: public transportation.

Yes, there’s lots of history onshore to discover – if you can get transportation – very friendly people, great crab cakes, yacht services galore, marinas up the yin yang and lots of arts and crafts.

In retrospect it’s a great place to sail to, leave your boat in a marina or on the hard and travel overland. We left our boat in Almshouse Creek with Westbrook and Cindy. Using Trustedhousesitters.com we managed to find an apartment with 2 cats to housesit for a week in Washington DC. It was a great experience, the condo well located to public transportation and in an interesting area called Columbia Heights. For a week we wandered around Washington, visiting museums (all free), testing restaurants, saying hello to Donald (don’t get me going), dancing the nights away in an African bar, wandering through neighbourhoods and joining in on July 4th celebrations on the Mall.

At present we are headed to the Chesapeake-Delaware canal and crossing over from the Chesapeake to the Delaware river and then north to New York. If you have any spare wind please send it our way.

A few photos

We joined an Ocean Cruising Club rally and this was the ‘dinghy drift’ on our last evening

Our generous hosts on Almshouse Creek – Westbrook and Cindy

Almshouse Creek

Connie attending to the painting details

Seen out front of the White House – need I say more

The Renwick Gallery Washington – The Art of Burning Man

Renwick Gallery

A replica of one of the ‘burning man’ temples which are burned at the end of the festival

One of Washington’s newest museums – African-American museum. A beautiful building with an incredible exhibition on slavery from the beginnings up to modern times

The Vietnam memorial. Simple, exquisite, moving…

July 4th on the mall with entertainment, fireworks and buckets of patriotism

Despite the cold, austere and unwelcoming feeling of the Canadian embassy nothing can beat the amazing Bill Reid bronze from the Pacific North West – made me homesick

Finally my next ship – oh to ride the waves in a ship like this